The weeks on The Large Morning Show in The Afternoon where I get to review a couple big new movies have become a lost art in recent months. I’m lucky if there is a single movie that most people know about for which I will get to provide a review for every week with Frank O. Pinion and company.
This made the past week extra special, because I had two new big films to review: Judd Apatow’s “The King of Staten Island” and Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods.” Each of them received very high ratings, but Lee’s film struck such a strong chord that I watched it twice within a matter of days. The power of that film and its themes and morals were so much for a filmmaker to give within a single movie that the review was harder than most to write.
Talking about it came easier. I gave Lee’s film the highest rating possible, 4 out of 4, meaning Frank was probably going to watch it. A movie about Vietnam War veterans finding their past sins and regrets out in the battlefield of modern day Vietnam featured a top-flight cast, one not comprised of sure-fire box office hit names. Actors like Delroy Lindo and Isiah Whitlock Jr. carried the action here, reaching the top of the title on the poster for the first time in decades, if ever. There’s an authenticity that the film direly needed to hit so hard.
Apatow’s film was also a special journey, because chronicled the real life of Pete Davidson on a cinematic playing field. He lost his dad in 9/11 and had struggled with those demons and tragedy for nearly two decades, so making a film centered around a particular truth was cathartic for him and uplifting for the audience. I felt like I got to know Davidson a little bit while watching Marisa Tomei and Bill Burr provide superb support. While not as sharp as Lee’s film, Apatow produced another gem to savor.
I hope there are more weeks ahead like this, where I review a couple new flicks people know about.
Here’s the listening link to the full hour: